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Auto Emoción

Most of you probably don’t know, but about 5 months ago, Karolina and I bought a beautiful, red, 2013 Seat Leon coupé. We sold it today, because of our upcoming move to the Netherlands where we won’t need it, and also because it’s a major hassle moving a car to NL (a proper European federation cannot happen soon enough). It was our first car and despite the fact that we’re both pretty left-leaning, bike-riding, train-loving hippies, we were surprised how much our car–a petrol-burning, city-clogging thing–grew on us. Here is a couple of observations we made about it.

Karolina preparing for yet another hike, somewhere in central Italy.
Karolina preparing for yet another hike, somewhere in central Italy.

  1. We didn’t use our car on a daily basis. In fact, it lived in the garage for the great majority of time, even though all of our friends told us we’d start using the car for commuting once we got it. That didn’t happen, but we did end up putting more than 6000 kms on it during our 5 months of ownership, which could be considered “a lot”. We’re thus happy to report that it is in fact possible and, given that you live in a densely populated city, easy to have a car and not use it on a daily basis. And we’re happy to report that our little Seat completed its mission of taking us on numerous Alpine trips flawlessly.

  2. Cars are expensive. Really expensive. And it’s not only the costs of ownership, but taxes, windscreen replacements (long story), winter tires, check-ups and insurance all put a major dent on a monthly budget. And the thing is, you don’t really realize it until you get rid of the car, take a look at your expenses and see how suddenly you’ve a lot of money to spare. Or at least we didn’t, but food for thought, car owners–calculate how much money owning a car costs you and if you’re really getting the expected value out of it.

  3. This being said, we grew attached to our car. Even Karolina, who is definitely not a car person, started referring to it as “auto emoción” (she even started doing a decent Catalan accent, Sergi), and we kept anthropomorphising it, which is something one should really be ashamed of. I guess I was always a car person, but until recently one without a driver’s license, so I kinda forgot about it, and kinda didn’t realize how deep my love for cars is. Well, it’s deep. It’s deep to such a degree that I’ve spent a whole day today browsing and (I’m staying home because I’m sick, okay? I’m not that bad.) So I’m afraid I will buy a car again once we settle down in NL, despite the fact that we don’t need one, and that it makes no sense to own one. I guess I’m embarrassed to admit that a perfectly capable rental VW diesel is so off-putting to me that I’d rather spend much more money on something else, simply because I like it better.

  4. Finally, for all the petrolheads out there: our Seat had a 1.8 petrol engine with 177 bhp, a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, an FR sports trim and was the perfect teenager’s car. And yes, 177 bhp in a golf-sized car is plenty, it went like stink once you put your foot down. Is that an important property of a car used primarily for long-distance trips? Not necessarily, although it is fun, and paradoxically safe, because you will always make it off of the on-ramp on the autobahn, and you’ll never have trouble overtaking trucks. Would I buy a car like this again? Probably not. Sport suspension is cool when you’re 18, or when you actually intend to take the car onto the track on weekends, otherwise it’s just uncomfortable. The whole teenage-targeted features like “sport mode” and paddle shifters (yeah) end up being used every once in a blue moon, and I wouldn’t go for any of that again. If you’re looking for a relatively cheap, good looking, sporty hatchback, though, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Leon SC. I also recommend going for the 1.8 engine, because it revs so happily, and isn’t that much more expensive to run if driven normally most of the time. (Consumer advice: I’ve driven the 1.4 and it’s fun, too, but lacks oomph. Cupra, on the other hand, is very expensive and too brash. And diesels suck, because, well, they are diesels.)

So yeah, we bid farewell to our car, and we hope the new owner will treat it well. And since, after finding a job, a flat, and booking a truck, this was our last item on the checklist, we are now fully ready for moving to Amsterdam.